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2. Computer Aided design

This CAD week introduced us to a lot of software for 2D design and 3D modeling. When choosing software for 2D design, keep in mind that there is a raster and vector graphic. As for 3D modeling software, there are a lot of them on the market. I opted for the Rhino 7 and Fusion 360.

2D design

As for the 2D design software, I have chosen GIMP with its BIMP plugin and Adobe Illustrator. I had an idea to make a logo for my final project. First I downloaded a picture of FabLab. I opened the image in GIMP. I decided to try the crop tool. I cut out the text below the image and saved the image that I later opened in Adobe Illustrator.


Adobe Illustrator is a commercial software, not as free as Inkscape. I used to work in Adobe Illustrator a long time ago so I decided to work again in it. As I wrote above I wanted to make a simple logo for the final project (educational mobile robot). In Illustrator, I first opened a new file and chose the A4 format. I set all the measurements in millimeters (mm). I did this for the reason that my robot has wheels with a diameter of 100 mm, so maybe I can use that design for the wheels later. Illustartor has an ellipse tool, so to make a proper circle we have to hold SHIFT and drag the mouse.


I inserted a picture of a fablab that I used to crop. I went to file -> place and set the image to the desired dimension. I wanted to write a text that follows the curvature of a circle. First I had to make another concentric circle. I did this by pressing ALT + SHIFT and placing the mouse in the center of the circle. I used the Type on a Path Tool option and got the desired text.


I increased the fonts and the space between the letters, rotated the text to get a satisfying look. I decided to change the colors to match the original colors of the FabLab logo.


Before exporting to svg I had to convert font to outline so that everything could be displayed. I decided to try the BIMP plugin for GIMP to compress some images for the web.


3D design and modeling

As for 3D modeling software, I decided to try Rhino 7 and Fusion 360. Considering that I have little experience in 3D modeling I decided to go through a couple of tutorials. First I wanted to try Rhino 7. I downloaded Rhino 7 and installed it on my computer. I followed this tutorial and decided to model gaming dices.

Rhino 7 has 4 views in which the user can work. I made square and extrude it. I closed all sides using surface -> edge curves. I used the ellipse tool combined with the revolve to get the sphere. By combining copying and rotating, I placed them in the desired places. In the end, I used boolen difference and fillet to get the look of a gaming dice. I also set the material color, plastic red.

In Rhino I first started drawing square. Then I extruded the square I used surface menu-> extrude curve-> straight. Now I have a box in 3d. The problem is that it doesn’t have a top and bottom surface. We can fix that by going to surface->edge curves and choosing all four edges to make a surface. We have to connect all of it with the joint command.


We have two options on how to make a sphere. The first option is to make an arc and revolve it around the axis. And the second option is to go to the sphere->center, radius. I tried both options. I placed the sphere in the center, I used the copy tool and place it in different positions. With the copy tool I used the rotate tool and placed the spheres in different positions accross all views.


I had to activate object snap to place the spheres with more precision. I used the command boolean difference to to subtract the spheres from the box. First I have to select the box and click enter, then select all the spheres and press enter.


The last thing I had to do is to filet the edges. I did that by going to solid->filet edge. I selected all the edges and apply fillet edge to all of them. You can see results in a picture bellow.


From viewport menu I chose render but before that I made a copy of the cube so there would be two of them. The resut can be viewd on the image below.


The next thing I wanted to try was the Fusion 360 from Autodesk. I followed this tutorial to make a plastic conduit. When I modeled the part I tried the render and animation option in fusion 360.

For modeling, I used similar commands as in Rhino 7 (extrude, copy, rotate …) and some new ones such as the joint command.

Fusion work process

Fusion end result


Rendered part


Playing with Fusion animation

I exported in stl format. Besides stl format we have obj format. OBJ format is considered to be more complex than . STL file for the fact that it is capable of representing texture, color and other CAD attributes of the three-dimensional object.

In the end I tried modeling a robot case in Fusion. You can see the 3D model here.



When you work with 2D design software you need to take care about the color systems and whether it is raster or vector graphic. GIMP is mainly a raster graphics program. It’s great software for beginners and it’s free. An additional plugin such as BIMP for batch image manipulation can be installed. Adobe Illustartor is a commercial program and built to make vector images. Illustrator has the most options for working with vector graphics, but that’s why it comes with a price tag. I would say that Illustrator is mostly used by professionals. I like Rhino because it has different views. I like the user interface and workflow in Fusion. I think Fusion is easier to work with and I will continue to work in it.

Design files for download

Last update: April 13, 2021